Pain Free Is Not Always An Option

This originally appeared as a weekly devo for whillschurch.org.

This has been one heck of week for our family. My ongoing battle with the pinched nerve in my neck has sort hit a stand still. I got better but I still have sporadic shots of pain down my arm depending on what position I get my neck in. I haven’t been able to play basketball in over a month and my exercise plan has sort been non-existant.

So the doctor ordered an MRI. Easy peasy, right?

I’m not claustrophobic. So the idea of laying down in huge magnetic coffin isn’t all that terrifying to me. The problem is they lie me flat on my back, strap my head down on the board exactly in the position where that nerve is pinched and it sends this flaming stream of pain down my right arm.

The pain was intense. Couldn’t finish it. Tried it again yesterday with some hydrocodone — lasted all of 5 minutes when the tech said – “This isn’t going to work.”

So today, we upped it to Valium. The last time I took Valium…well the nurse said I was extremely funny and ought to think about a career in public speaking. And that was how I got started in ministry…

In fact, I’m starting to feel the effects right now as I type this. jfkla;sdifq9’j’m3ic Just kidding…sort of.

Yet for all the bravado and macho talk, I hate pain. I realize that most of us do…

More to come after the Valium wears off…

LATER: The valium didn’t work. Well…it sort of worked. It made me sick at my stomach and groggy but could not cut through that pain once I got on the table. So now they are going to schedule me for an IV sedation. I’m not confident this will work either but hey…

My point? My point is that we spend an inordinate amount of time avoiding pain. A friend of mine told me yesterday (he just got done with a knee surgery) that pain was God’s way of reminding us that we are still alive. As we talked, we joked that between the two of us there was one whole, healthy person. We enjoyed a good laugh but he reminded me of another famous person’s perspective on pain.

C.S. Lewis said “Pain is God’s megaphone.”

Pain is inevitable. It has been that way since Genesis 3. I don’t believe that all pain is God’s fault but I do believe that he USES all pain. That’s the subtle message of Romans 8:28 – ALL things work for good…, not all things ARE good.

So the real question for the Christ follower in the middle of their pain is this – what good is God going to work out in all of this? Hard question to deal with at times because not all pain is equal. But…all pain is painful.

In a few weeks (after the Go! series) we will start a series called Beyond Pain. We’ll get to explore these kinds of questions and more by studying how some of heroes in scripture dealt with pain. Some of the insights are going to be very, very surprising. We’re going to see that God Himself is not immune to pain.

In the meantime…hang in there. And find a friend to laugh with.

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